Chris Ashton diving

HE COULD GO ALL THE WA…ARGH!!!

February 14th, 2011 in Rants by 17 Comments

Showboating – it’s crept up on us slowly in rugby, but it’s here. Tommy Bowe, Shane Williams and of course, Chris Ashton are the most noteworthy up this end of the world, but if you watch Sevens, which is all about TV and the fan experience, you’ll have seen this countless times. Punching the air, swan dives, goose steps – the whole shebang. However, if you also watch rugbydump.com , you’ll have seen plenty of blunders too – here’s one

http://rugbydump.blogspot.com/search?q=tuqiri+butcher

When you get into space, pin your ears back (whatever the hell that means), run like the clappers (whatever that means) and put the bloody ball down (YOU KNOW WHAT THAT MEANS!!!). Well, that’s not the end of it either – when you do get there and score, make sure that it if you are going to celebrate for the cameras or the fans, that you do it right!? Witness my good friend Kevin McKenzie (Starmer-Smith says you are a back row forward for Bracknell!) from Guyana at the IRB Sevens in Vegas – Kev, tone it down mate ;-) Too much going on!

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Try something like Leila Masaga’s dancing feet for the Chiefs – simple and original!

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Anybody remember Cacauinbuca’s dinosaur signature gesture? Best celebration I’ve seen in a while has to be Bournemouth Football team with the knockout punches thrown on all of his team mates – must try that one – must also remember to let the rest of the team know!

It’s starting to get worse, and I’m getting older, because it starts to irritate me more. I will be writing an angry letter to someone, somewhere, sometime soon. Afraid? You should be!!! It’s sad to see these things creeping into rugby; mainly since it went professional I have to say. If we are going to celebrate let’s do it right… good lord save us…

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As for the debate around the Ashton Splash, I for one was delighted to see one of the Italian defenders giving him stick after his first try. In my mind, celebrating like this celebrates the individual, not the team, and for me rugby is the ultimate team game. Secondly, it is disrespectful to your opponents.

On the other hand, it’s difficult to argue with Ashton when he is scoring tries for fun – what do you do as the coach? Do you drop him? Do you sub him off the field? I have seen an Iranian rugby player do a triple somersault after scoring a try- he was new to the game – but how can you stamp this out when they aspire to be like Chris Ashton? The same player “simulated” an injury and the referee awarded a penalty against him! That’s another day’s ranting of course…

Don’t get me wrong – I am a huge fan of Chris Ashton who is a phenomenal talent, who runs sublime lines at breakneck speeds – most impressive for me is how Dylan Hartley looks so fast until I notice the number on his back. Ashton is not the only one guilty of showboating either – on the same weekend, Shane Williams had to be told to ground the ball by the referee against Scotland. This is just inviting a late hit, and if I was going to penalise anyone, it would be Williams in this situation.

So what can we do? Well, if referees can penalise a player for shouting during a kick, why can’t he penalise someone for showboating? The other thing that teams can do is keep the chase on until the try is scored – great to see Jamie Roberts getting taken down by Sean Lamont (who played like a man possessed by the way!) just metres from the line. The final more elaborate suggestion is for a rugby vigilante to take the law into their own hands and stop Ashton themselves! Maybe Paddy Power could sponsor someone for this? What are the odds on a streaker taking Ashton down as he goes for the line, fist in the air at the Aviva Stadium (they paid a lot of money, so let’s give them their due)?

What do you think? Should we embrace showboating as part of the entertainment of rugby? Or, should we stamp it out before we end up like the NFL with high fives and dancing after every tackle, pass, etc.? Let us know what you think and why. The best answer wins a tee shirt from the fantastic new RhinoGB range!

Author: Luke O'Callaghan

Luke O'Callaghan is an Irish rugby player, coach and sports consultant. Luke not only combines over 10 years experience of international rugby coaching and development with press and TV journalism, but also has found the time to win 8 caps for Kazakhstan! Also a coach at the Dublin Business School, he holds a variety of perspectives, usually passionate, on the game and will be ranting on all things rugby in the coming months for Rhino.

17 Comments

What’s wrong with showboating – it’s all part of the entertainment and if you disagree that rugby is not an entertainment but a serious sport then ask them to turn off the music after every point at Twickenham. You can’t turn the event into a circus and then spoil all the fun.

It would now look rudiculous if players scored and then walked politely back to their positions for an orderly restart. Go wild. Let rip. At £75 a ticket let’s have fireworks and naked dancing girls.

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Peter Urey

2/17/2011

As you say ‘they aspire to be like Chris Ashton’ and for good reason. In addition to his obvious quality as a player, he brings a spark of exuberant dissent to the game. M Johnson’s teacher like reaction after the first dive will only bring more junior acolytes. Some of these will choose rugby over other codes. Lighten up – celebration can only be good for the game.

I suppose the author can only be Munster (by the grace of god!) given their comparable attachment to an antiquated and exclusionary silence during penalty goals and conversions. Welcome to the boisterous 10’s. Respect is so 1995.

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Fritz

2/21/2011

@Peter Urey: You mean like US Football??

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Marc-o

2/22/2011

I’ve always considered the silence during penalties and conversions at Thomond Park to more intimidatory than respectful. Its origins are clearly in the tradition of respect but I’m sure the silence has given many a modern goal-kicker the wobbles.

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paulo

2/22/2011

Don’t think it’s intended as disrespect. Just a young lad caught up in the moment and showing a bit of joy in his work; and when you have the best job in the world, why not? I agree that it’s a potential nightmare and the pundit frenzy will go into overdrive when he drops it – at which point MJ will be justified in removing his generative equipment.
However, as a minis coach I love it – all the kids want to replicate it in training and if he inspires more youngsters to take up the game through his showmanship, it’s all good.

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Dave Beal, Huddersfield, England.

2/25/2011

Get rid of the showboating. It’s bad for the game and can be dangerous at the lower levels. I’ve seen it at the U19 level where these kids get into showboating and talking trash and next thing you know someone on the short end of the score has gone off and seriously injured an opponent. It also happens at higher levels of men’s rugby, though I haven’t seen egregious retaliation at the highest levels. Penalising show boaters, in my mind, is a way of protecting them.

The fact is, it’s just not what rugby is about. Rugby is as much about respect as it is about competition. what other contact sport has the social as a tradition? If you beat me I’ll drink with you. If you beat me and you an ass about it you better hope you don’t see me next match.

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Angrose

2/25/2011

Celebrating is allowed in any sport. However showboating is taking a good moment and trying to make it better than it is. A simple fist pump or letting out a shout is normal in rugby but show boating is just not right for the game, it should be left to the overpaid footballers who celebrate every goal as if they have won the world cup.

Rugby will hopefully never stoop to this level. Rugby is a gentlemen’s game and is all about the fifteen men on the pitch who work together as a team to produce the end score. It looks much better when a player is modest about a score but yet the whole team celebrate and congratulate him by cheering or maybe even a simple pat on the back.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hGNNq4Blqck

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Simon

2/25/2011

JAMIE HEASLIP DID IT AGAINST SCOTLAND.YOUR ONLY MOANING ABOUT IT BECAUSE HES ENGLISH ON AN ENGLISH WINNING TEAM

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AXEL CULLEN

2/25/2011

CHRIS ASHTON IST A VERY GOOD PLAYER HE JUST GETS GOOD OPORTUNITYS AND TAKES THEM WELL

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AXEL

2/25/2011

Hi Luke

Really enjoyed the first two articles. Look forward to reading more in the future.

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Bernard Jackman

2/27/2011

@Fritz: Hi all, nice to see that there is good discussion going on here. Yes, born in Connacht, raised in Munster, living in Leinster – the silence in Thomond is a tradition, and I am all for tradition – perhaps showboating is a new tradition to be embraced? Guilty cuplrits aplenty in Irish rugby too – Jamie Heaslip, Tommy Bowe and even Ronan O’Gara. Chris Ashton is the highest profile because he just can’t stop scoring! I’m a huge Ashton fan and hope he smashes the try scoring record in this season’s RBS 6 Nations!

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Luke O'Callaghan

2/28/2011

@AXEL: Axel, with a good “Munster” name like that I thought you’d be more pro Ireland! Good point though. See my comments below.

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Luke O'Callaghan

2/28/2011

@Angrose: Great point here – it’s all well and good trying to manage an adult player, but trying to rationalise with minis when they lose the plot is a task I couldn’t handle!

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Luke O'Callaghan

2/28/2011

@Bernard Jackman: Thanks Bernard, hoping to cover concussion soon, so will be in touch.

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Luke O'Callaghan

2/28/2011

The only moment a player should celebrate is when the referee blows the whistle indicating the end of game and if his team won of course. Why celebrate if the game is not finished? You can lose face if the other team scores and wins the game. Sorry the bad english, I’m a brazilian guy.

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Pablo Schulman

4/14/2011

Allow the try, penalize the showboating, penalty at the center of the field.
In the object of the game (the first thing in the law book!): “observing fair play” and “in the sporting spirit.” Showboating is against both.
In the guidelines on the application of the law (8.1):
“Players must not take any action contrary to the letter and SPIRIT [my emphasis] of the game”
Listed in what constitutes foul play: “unsporting behaviour.” ‘Nuff said.

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Colin

5/11/2011

All the best to Luke! – Victor from Astrakhan

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Victor M. Victorin

8/18/2013

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